A Good Deed on an Empty Stomach

Fasting 5K Run for Barakat

Originally started as a small venture spearheaded by a group of friends, the August 3 Fasting 5K Run for Barakat has grown into a nation-wide event that has raised over $14,000 to buy new computers for all five of Barakat’s schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The run’s huge success and the eager participation from cities across the United States—like Boston, Washington, D.C. and Houston—means that it has become Barakat’s newest annual fundraiser.

The enthusiasm and support the event generated has given us the mindset that we will definitely do this again next year, and try to expand even further on the work achieved this year,” said 29-year-old Boston resident and run organizer Farhaan Razi.


It started out when Razi and a friend decided that they wanted to do something more than fasting for the holy month of Ramadan. After an online search for a charity dealing with children’s education in the Indo-Pakistan region, Razi came across Barakat.  Because one of the attributes of the month of Ramadan is struggling to perform good unto others, Razi said he felt a run while fasting would be an appropriate symbol for the struggles many children in Pakistan and Afghanistan face walking long miles to school.  He decided Barakat’s work aligned nicely with what he and his friend wanted to do.

He contacted Executive Director Angha Childress, and together they discussed what Barakat’s most pressing needs were. According to Childress, they settled on buying new computers for the students at one of Barakat’s Pakistan schools, Ersari Elementary School. The students there had been using very old computers and the staff and teachers had been asking for replacements for some time, she said. The original goal was to raise $2,500.

“The entire timeframe, from idea to execution, was done in a little over a week, so we were completely overwhelmed by the response,” Razi said. “The outpouring support of runners and money raised exceeded all of our expectations. It was a very humbling experience for all of us.”


As Razi and Barakat advertised the Fasting 5K Run via Facebook and Twitter, more and more people from other cities wanted to join. By the end of the Saturday evening run on August 3rd,  D.C. runners had raised over $1,900, Houston over $1,000, and Boston, where the event originated, managed to go above and beyond the estimated goal and raised over $11,000. Childress, herself, went over to the Boston run’s starting point at the Islamic Society of Boston in Cambridge, to say thank you and give her best wishes to the runners and walkers on behalf of Barakat’s students and staff.

“I am incredibly impressed and very grateful for this support from young people who cared so much for our students in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Childress. “The amount raised is sufficient to buy new computers for all our five schools in both countries.”

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for people like Razi’s friends Saad Munir and Enas AlNajjar, who were key in raising friends and funds, Razi said. Hamza Syed was critical in coordinating the runners and marketing the event. Friends Ebad RahmanZahid Siddiqui and Viqar Hussain provided logistic support and advice throughout the process, and Henna QureshiBilaal Ahmed and Mariam Mehter helped coordinate the D.C. run.

“There is a saying in business that you are only as good as the people around you and that was never truer than when organizing this event,” Razi said.

Inspired by Razi and friends’ efforts? You too can raise friends and funds for Barakat! Call us today to find out how @ 617-301-4312.